Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remembering Dave Bachman, 1951-2012

On July 7th we lost one of the most important members of the Pennsylvania cycling community. After a morning bike ride with his son, Dave Bachman fell asleep watching the Tour de France and never woke up. He was 61 and had the distinction of being PennDOT's only full-time bicycle and pedestrian coordinator from1992 to 2008.

Dave facilitated the Southeast PA Bicycle Issues Task Force along with Assistant Coordinator Patti Marshall and PennDOT District 6 coordinators Karl Kieffer and Matt Bochanski. The task force was a forum for local bike advocates and planners. Among its accomplishments was preserving bike access to Valley Forge after the Betzwood Bridge was closed, and a re-striping policy which sought to widen shoulders on state roads at the time of re-striping. David often said that there was nowhere else in the state where support for bicycling was so strong.

On the state level Dave managed the creation of the first statewide bicycle plan and the Bicycle PA touring routes. Most importantly he worked with Assemblyman Rick Geist to form the Pennsylvania Pedestrian and Pedalcycle Advisory Committee (PPAC).

Around the time Bachman was transferred out of the coordinator position, support for the state and local bicycle and pedestrian programs waned. Bachman and Marshall's positions at the Central Office were replaced by a part-time bicycle pedestrian coordinator (Brian Saunders) and the SE PA Bicycle Issues Task Force eventually disbanded. The modest shoulder widening policy was discontinued or more likely forgotten by an agency that shifted its focus to deficient bridges. Still, PPAC remains steadfast as one of Bachman's greatest legacies, focusing in recent years on reforming Pennsylvania's bicycle and pedestrian policies.

Dave had other interests outside bikes: he was a youth baseball coach and before working at PENNDOT he was an archaeologist at the University of Delaware. There is a wonderful article about Dave on PennLive.com.

Rest In Peace Friend.